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Frontier hits Murray Basin with new rare earths permit

Frontier Resources is gearing up for a tilt at prospective ionic clay-hosted rare earth elements in the Murray Basin heavy mineral province after being awarded an exploration licence by South Australian regulators.

A series of auger, push tube and air-core drilling campaigns are planned over the Murraydium Ionic Clay rare earths project area for laterally-extensive shallow clay-hosted rare earth mineralisation.

The Murraydium Project is in the south‐eastern region of the Naracoorte area in South Australia’s Murray Basin, made up of four exploration licence blocks and covers an area of 872 square kilometres.

The success of the nearby Australian Rare Earths’ owned Koppamurra project, host to an inferred mineral resource of 39.9 million tonnes going 725 parts per million total rare earths oxides has seen fresh eyes cast over the region.

The company says Murray Basin sediments have the potential to host high-value orebodies with low radioactivity ore characteristics as the regional geology consists of extensive series of stranded shorelines formed during marine regression in Miocene to early Pliocene, that it says is the primary host to rare earths mineralisation in the area.

The Murraydium Rare Earth Project offers exciting exploration upside potential. Previous work done in the area has outlined an extensive mineralised system where shallow near surface exploration has the potential to delineate shallow JORC Resources.

Frontier says it will look at mapping to confirm prospective geological horizons to validate exploration models and assist in exploration planning once it finishes a desktop review of available geological models and historical exploration data.

It then plans to conduct extensive surface sampling before commencing subsequent drilling.

Interestingly, because rare earths are key components to green technologies emerging in the ‘New Economy’ – such as the magnets in electric vehicles and wind turbines – the demand for them is being driven to new highs. Forbes has suggested the US needs 10 times its current inventory of rare earths to meet its ambitious 2030 electric vehicle goals.

According to a 2020 article published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the globe’s supply of heavy rare earths is dominantly sourced from ionic adsorption deposits in China.

The US Geological Survey says the eastern superpower has produced an overwhelming 87 per cent of the world’s rare earths, an alarming testament to its iron-grip on the industry.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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